Friday, June 09, 2006

Grim Future For Grimsley?

At long last!
All of these Jason Grimsley trading cards in our expansive collection of Phillie trading cards -- the studs n' the stiffs -- are finally worth something.

For those of us who've spent 32 years as a Phillie diehard (most of the time), we were gettin' mighty tired of reading the back of those cards and learning how Jason Grimsely didn't pitch his final two years at Tarkington High (in Cleveland, Texas) due to injuries, so he played shortstop instead.

Now, the pitcher who broke in with the Phils has added to his bio with material which is meatier than the fact that he was not only the youngster who was dealt to the Astros for a youngster named Curt Schilling but was also the starting pitcher in the famous "9 In The 9th" classic at Dodger Stadium in Aug. '90 (for those of us who have it on videotape, we've watched Lasorda slap that coffee cup to the dugout floor maybe 200-300 times).

We've learned that the names on the 20-page affidavit are blacked out, so until the redacted becomes "unredacted," the data is incomplete and choppy. However, what we do know, right now, is that Jason Grimsley's immediate release from the Diamondbacks would seem to spell the end of a 22-year career in professional baseball.

The odd aspect of that is seeing the name "Jason Grimsley" and "22-year career in pro ball" in the same sentence.
Sure, the Grimsley/HGH news quaked powerfully through the free world Wednesday, leading the pundits, to the surprise of no one, to pontificate that this Grim development is "only the tip of the iceberg."
Naturally, this "tip of the iceberg" will either:
A) Lead to the ruination of The MLB
B) Prompt a total overhaul of The MLB's drug-testing procedures
C) Both A and B
D) Neither A nor B

Dig this, brethren: If the '94 Strike of Strikes couldn't kill the game, it's not too likely that anything which infringes on our inalienable right to worship the 3-run jimmy jack will act as a catalyst for social change.

It matters not if Barry Bonds is fornicating atop the Giants' dugout with a teenager (boy or girl, no big diff) whilst J-Grim is jamming a hypodermic needle into Bonds' buttock (ever mindful of the sciatic nerve located near that exposed gluteus muscle). America will show its outrage for 8 1/2 minutes, then, it'll be back to, "Gimme gimme gimme more 3-run jimmy jack."

Especially the walk-off jimmy jacks.

We thirst for our fence-busting stars, be they wired on HGH or Tibetan yak semen, to provide muscle maxicity in performing their fence-busting tricks with those uranium-injected bats to strike the plutonium-filled balls into the stratosphere.

We've discussed this before.

So, before we get all panicky with "The MLB won't last beyond 2009," let's all settle down.
For anyone who believes that this is a HUGE story, this might be the time to stop huffing Liquid Plumr before your morning coffee.
The sport cannot be killed, no way, no how.
Not ever.

It is amusing, though, when we sit back and realize that the year that Bonds and Grimsley were drafted (1985) coincided with the drug trials in Pittsburgh when John Milner told us about the "nasty red juice” in Willie Mays’ locker (which may or may not’ve been cough syrup) and Petey The Parrot (the Pirates’ mascot) was called in to testify.

Booze, weed, blow, juice ... technology usually remains one step ahead of Johnny Law, hence ... they're synthesizing the newest formulas right now which'll make 'roids n' HGH look like Hawaiian Punch in the Year 2013.
And, when we dig deeper, we discover that there are no signs posted in dugouts, clubhouses or the collective bargaining agreement which state unequivocally that "no player shall smoke crystal meth in the batter's box during actual game action."

Look ... the intel provided by Ken Caminiti in an S.I. cover story and by Canseco in "Juiced" didn't exactly "blow the lid off of who's who in The MLB's list of junkies."
Such name-dropping didn’t force us to take a long, hard look at “the game” and to take a long, hard look at ourselves.
Or a long, hard look at nasty, red juice.
Or a long, hard look at Petey The Parrot.

It did, though, cause us to take a long, hard look at the jimmy jack.
And we want it supersized.
Preferrably 15 minutes ago.

We don't know who Grimsley's "outted" in his affidavit. The names’ll get leaked and everyone from Gammons to Buster Olney will espouse some indignant rhetoric (which they don't actually believe -- 'cuz, if they did, they'd continue to wonder aloud why spit-tobacco is banned by every level of baseball, yet, the MLB has a multitude of players with tins of Copenhagen/Skoal tin in their butt pocket).

Was it really only a little more than a year ago when Big Mac was all choked up and evasive before Congress (and Sammy needed an interpreter)?
Those kids saved The MLB in '98 (or so Stupidca wrote in his best-seller which he peddled to suckers).

Seriously ... the only thing dumber than junkie ballplayers is the people who report on junkie ballplayers.

But, this is interesting:
Grimsley’s teammate with the ’96 Angels, Jim Abbott, went 2-18 with an ERA of 7.48 (while Grimsley that year led the AL in one interesting department -- "hit batsmen").
Before Grimsley took down Jim Abbott with a batch of bad junk, he poisoned Kyle Abbott (1-14 for the ’92 Phillies) by giving him a batch of bad junk before The Grimsley Reaper was dealt late in spring training for Schill.

What possessed Jason Grimsley to kill the Abbotts?
It's a question which begs to be asked.
Then again, other media members have different agendas -- such as what Jayson Stark did the other day when he had the temerity to say on a national radio show that Grimsley’s “relations” with the ’93 Phillies, the ’95 Indians, the ’99 Yankees will be explored.

What for?

True ... the Yankees should be stripped of the '99 MLB championship -- but such a forfeiture should be based solely on the reasoning that '99 was THE most-boring World Series in the history of World Series boredom.
It's dog-chasin'-tail time in The MLB ... Stupidca built 'em up in '98; Stark is tearin' 'em down in '06.
And it's some real flimsy circumstantial B.S.
Maybe that how they do things in the UAE, but it's not how we drew it up in the USA.

Unless the FBI dragnet includes interviews of every busboy Grimsley didn’t tip in Utica (in ’86) and every ballpark groupie he may’ve slept with in Spartanburg (in ’87) and every starry-eyed youngster whose ball he didn’t autograph in Reading (in ’89), then, we should leave this to Nancy Grace to peck at with her razor-sharp beak and her brain-burning drawl.

Some of us will take the high road and refuse to judge Jason Grimsley, lest he judge us for certain transgressions which may've unfolded a week after he was drafted in '85 ... y'know, like gettin' yer horizontal mambo on with that blonde nympho who, thankfully, lets ya off the hook for spoonin' and leaves at 1 a.m. -- and then you find yourself even more thankful less than 7 hrs. later when yer girlfriend stops by for a quickie on her way to work, only you intentionally fail to disclose to her that you were in the same state of undress and arousal less than 8 hrs. earlier and, "yes" ... '85 was a good year for Tarkington High seniors who were drafted in the 10th round by the Phillies and for those of us who actually cared about high school seniors who were drafted in the 10th round by the Phillies (when we weren't mixing it up with the fillies).

Some of us will choose to remember Jason Grimsley as the guy on the '92 Upper Deck card #406 with the oddly-contorted mouth and the airbrushed eyeballs (as Upper Deck often did back then) as he was halfway through his delivery while wearing the maroon Phillie apparel (which they didn't wear in '92, switching to the current red ensemble before spring training).

It's doubtful that Jason The Accused-'Roid-Trafficking Monster will ever be asked to autograph any of these early-'90s Phillies cards for the sisters in C-block because, here in America, we don't imprison white-boy squealers.
We only incarcerate Rae Carruth.
And Denny McLain.
And sometimes Art Schlichter
The real criminals.

Besides, Jason Grimsley will receive a special exemption, anyway -- due to his ties to the '85 draft ... "The Draft Which Saved The MLB."
Just lookit those illuminaries:
1. Brewers, B.J. Surhoff (ss-c)
2. Giants, Will Clark (1b)
3. Rangers, Bobby Witt (rhp)
4. Reds, Barry Larkin (ss)
6. Pirates, Barry Bonds (of)
8. Expos, Pete Incaviglia (of)
10. Dodgers, Chris Gwynn (of)
11. A's, Walt Weiss (ss)
14. Braves, Tommy Greene (rhp)
16. Phillies, Trey McCall (c)
17. Royals, Brian McRae (ss)
18. Cardinals, Joe Magrane (lhp)
20. Mets, Gregg Jefferies (ss)
22. Cubs, Rafael Palmeiro (of)

Some of us were lucky enough, on our first day as a cub reporter, to conduct phone interviews with Nos. 6, 11 and 20 -- only it might've been more fun to talk to No. 10 and ask, "Do you really feel as though society is ready for a stocky, white man such as yourself to take the all-time home run record away from a black man who took the home run record away from a stocky, white man?"

Little did we know that a skinny, undernourished kid from San Mateo would be preparing for the role which Inky seemed destined for after we saw him spending the '85 season at Okie State racking up 48 dingers and 143 ribbies to go along with that .464 avg.

Fantastic memories from '85, for damn sure ... except people tend to forget that, with the 18th pick of the 10th round (two selections after Grimsley was chosen by the Phillies with the 16th pick in that round), the Cards selected Mississippi State second baseman Gator Thiessen.
The Gator's four more-famous MSU teammates -- Clark, Palmeiro, Bobby Thigpen (in the 4th round) and Jeff Brantley (in the 6th round) – were all drafted before The Gator, so ya gotta wonder if maybe why that's why they gave him the cold shoulder before they stopped talking to him altogether.

The ’85 draft had a lot of sentimental value which extended beyond some those 10-minute friendships forged with picks numbered 6, 11 and 20.
In case it slipped anyone's mind, after the 'Spos tabbed Inky with theit 1st-rnd. pick, they got Randy Johnson in the second round.
Virginia Tech had two pitchers drafted that year – the righty, Dell Curry (taken in the 14th round by the Orioles, but who opted for the NBA over The MLB) and the proud southpaw, Bean Stringfellow (which, we believe, is one of the silliest aliases of all-time).

Speaking of Bean, the Yankees took Billy Bean in the 24th round in '85.
For the record, that's the homosexual Billy Bean, who is not to be confused with the A’s GM Billy Beane.

Kinda makes ya wonder if Big Stein viewed the gay Billy Bean (of Loyola-Marymount) as “the best athlete available” (since a high schooler named Deion Sanders had been drafted in the 6th round by the Royals and a college kid named Vincent "Bo" Jackson had been drafted in the 20th round by the Angels...neither signed with those teams) with the 23rd pick of the 24th round after the Cubs snatched up Mark Grace (of San Diego State) with the 22nd pick of the 24th round.

Common sense says that Big Stein was not in the market for a first baseman since he had a youngster (Donnie Baseball) who was in the middle of an MVP season -- although it gets kinda kooky when we consider how it was Grace (The MLB’s hits leader in the 1990s) who would one day haunt the Pinstripe nation with that leadoff single in the bottom of the 9th against robo-closer Mariano Rivera in Game 7 of the '01 Series.

The great thing about The MLB is that it protects its Class of '85ers. When all is said and done, the Jason Grimsley case will achieve closure in a manner which will have the scribes scribbling that the matter was handled with dignity and valor.

Then, we can get back to worshipping at the holy Temple of the Jimmy Jack ...

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